Tanner James Blog

This year’s budget process will be totally transformed

John Howarth

On Tuesday 8th May 2018 the Federal Budget will be delivered.  It will be totally transformed, a budget like no other you have seen before.  The delivery will change, the structure will change, the content will change and the impact on departments and agencies from 1 July 2018 will represent a seismic shift in the entire operation of the public service.


The most obvious change in this year’s budget is that it will be delivered by The Prime Minister, not The Treasurer.  It has been recognised that The Treasurer is just the bean-counter, providing the resources to make things happen.  People don’t care what government services cost, they want to know what the vision is for the country, and what it means for them.  This information needs to come from the leader of the government, not the accountant.


There are two major changes to delivery of the budget speech.

Firstly, it will now be divided into two parts: run the country and change the country.  The government has decided to adopt the familiar “run the business, change the business” paradigm from the private sector in order to provide transparency of the difference between staying as we are, and moving to a better future.

Secondly, the budget will be expressed in terms of Key Performance Indicators and Benefits – the former for the “run the country” element, the latter for the “change the country” element.


To support the structural change, the public can expect to see The Prime Minister express KPIs and Benefits in simple, easy-to-understand language with clear measures;  the government will then set-out exactly what it costs to provide and improve these government services.  This will be one of the most noticeable changes – the government won’t simply announce what it is going to spend in a policy area, but rather the emphasis will be placed on what it will deliver in a policy area.

There is also a commitment to plain language and figures in the budget.  No longer will the budget be dominated by obscure fiscal language, and charts on your TV screen that a professional economist has to decipher.  Instead there will be a cleverly presented serries of citizen-centric fact sheets that allow anyone to scan across all areas of government, drill-down into details that interest them, and have this all presented based on their degree of familiarity with the underlying concepts.

Impact on Departments and Agencies

Every single department and agency will update its website from 1st July 2018.  And the difference will be dramatic.  On the top right corner you will be able to select “run” or “change”, and this will present you with an entirely different view.  The “run” selection will closely reflect current websites.  It is the “change” functionality that interests me.  For example, if you have “change” selected and look at Organisation Structure, instead of seeing Groups, Divisions, Branches etc, you will see Programmes, Projects and Teams.  Instead of positions, you’ll see people in roles – SRO, Project Sponsor, Scrum Master etc.  When you look at work plans, you’ll be able to see the major change structures – tranches, stages, sprints and so forth.  These screens are highly visual and will shift dynamically so you can move between the boundaries of different change initiatives, see how the interact, and go and have a loom at the future state and benefits they are working to deliver.  You will also be able to scan across and drill down on progress, issues and risks.


None of this is true, I made it all up over a cup of tea.  But I think it would be nice if it were true.  If you are a politician or public servant who is upset by my little bit of daydreaming, please call me personally on 0407 404 688 or email me at .  I would be very happy to come to meet you, and I’m sure we’ll walk away as friends.

What do you think?

Please feel free to comment on the blog itself or via Linked In.

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